Monday, October 8, 2012

Why is Codependency So Dangerous?

Well I had planned on doing a Part II to my blog but then I saw a blog that really addresses how codependency works on the unsuspecting! You see, codependency is devastating in it's reach into our identity. Those who would trap you into codependency are literally stealing your life from you!

Why is Codependency So Dangerous?
by Dr. Eric Andrews
Many people assume that codependency is a strictly passive condition, with the codependent only performing as a servant to the abuser/addict. In reality, codependency is a passive-aggressive condition, with the ABUSER/ENABLER controlling the addict through emotional and physical manipulation to include rage, violence, and threats demonstrating control. In an unhealthy relationship forged by codependency, the enabler/abuser needs the addict to remain unhealthy and dependent to maintain control. Depending on the type of abuser, they will try various means of remaining in control once the threat of loss of that control is apparent. Which is why it is so important to get completely away from the ABUSER! While many people feel a strong need to help a loved one in a time of personal crisis, a number of codependents see themselves as martyrs or self-sacrificing heroes because they endured the hardship of codependency of their abuser.. As a codependent of an abuser, caring for a person with a terribly dysfunctional psychological disorder helps define them as people worthy of respect, which they believe they wouldn't receive under healthier circumstances. This very same codependent personality now seeks others to become codependent upon and enable others to become codependent upon them. You can see how this is not a victimless disease!

Codependency is a learned behavior, with children observing the effects of addiction on their parents. A person who experienced a traumatic childhood involving sexual or physical abuse will often seek out a partner with substance abuse problems or anti-social behavior. The belief generated by codependency is that he or she will somehow be able to 'fix' this person's numerous issues. In actuality, these codependent relationships often crash and burn, leaving the codependent with even lower self-esteem. Since many codependents avoid interaction with healthy, well-adjusted people, the codependency cycle usually continues with a series of damaging relationships.

With the information above I would like my readers to redirect to a blog I have the absolute utmost respect for. The blog is by a friend of mine who has admitted to a codependent behavior and shares the devastation that it brings to those who allow codependency to occur.

Please read Laura's blog:

Daddy's Girl... or better yet, who I was and who I am becoming... Codependent no more

http://lifewithlaura2.blogspot.com/2012/10/daddys-girl-or-better-yet-who-i-was-and.html 

See you next blog,
Ted

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

How Can I Know If I Am Codependent?

PART 1 OF 2

"Codependency" is used to describe the condition where a person becomes the "caretaker" of an addicted or mentally troubled individual. The individual can be addicted to personality disorders such spousal or child abuse, alcohol, sex, drugs, or gambling.  Codependents can be this individual's spouse, lover, child, parent, sibling, coworker, or friend.

Codependency is not a word you would find in many dictionaries, nor is it a concept that is easy to define. Codependency has been described as an addiction, a disease, learned behaviors, a psychosocial condition, and a personality disorder. The term has been widely applied to define spouses of dysfunctional persons. More generally, codependency has been applied to individuals who suffer from constantly focusing on the needs and behaviors of others. Many professionals argue that individuals addicted to alcohol, work, food, narcissicism, sex, and shopping all suffer from the malady of codependency on their codependent partners. Codependent individuals from abusive circumstances become so preoccupied and focused on the needs of others that they neglect their own needs. Some mental health professionals even argue that codependency is the most common of all addictions. Is it possible that under every addiction lies elements of codependency? There are numerous definitions of codependency, and experts in the field do not agree on any specific definition.

Perhaps the reason codependency is hard to define is due to the fact that the term has emerged within recent history. Originally codependency was aimed to describe family members and spouses of chemically dependent individuals. Today the term is used more generally. Codependency refers to maladaptive behavior that results from a stressful preoccupation with another individual's life. Without treatment, codependency leads to dysfunctional relationships.

Some of these common characteristics are so broad that it can be argued that in one aspect or another nearly everyone could be codependent. Relationship difficulties are often a result of codependency. Codependency is a progressive disorder, but even in advanced stages it is important to remember that codependency is treatable if the codependent recognizes the need for help and can manage to distance themselves of their abusive relationships.

Codependency can be viewed as an illness with both psychological and physical implications. Certain psychological disorders are often associated with codependency. Some of these disorders include avoidant personality disorder, dependent personality disorder,obsessive compulsive personality disorder, mixed personality disorder, dysthymic disorder, anxiety disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, and addictive disorders. Recognizing the disorders that are often associated with codependency are important in diagnosis.

Physical illnesses starts to emerge during middle and advanced stages of codependence. Many codependents experience insomnia, heart arrhythmia, self neglect, fatigue, suppressed immune functioning that leads to cancer, and violent headaches. In later stages of codependency individuals may feel lethargic, depressed, or experience an eating disorder. The ramifications of codependency go beyond psychological symptoms. Because you have become the enabler to your dysfunctional perpetrator you become dependent upon protecting their behavior until you can no longer bear up to it. You have been so abused that you are unaware of how terribly you have been affected. The very first thing to go out the door, so to speak, is your identity. Your self-confidence is chipped away at by your abuser. You lose sight of the big picture of where you are headed as an individual. Feeling trapped by the very person you tried to protect, you begin to experience the symptoms mentioned above. The final result can be extreme mental illness and even death.

Below are typical roles that codependents play:


You become the enabler allowing the person to continue his or her self-destructive or troubled behavior, or denies that the person has a problem.

You become the rescuer makes excuses for the person's behavior, or saves the person from unpleasant situations, i.e., putting an alcoholic to bed after he/she passes out.
   
You become the caretaker that  takes care of all household and financial chores which hold the family together.

You become the joiner rationalizes that the person's behavior is normal by simply allowing it to take place or by taking part in the same behavior as the addicted or troubled individual to include illicit sexual behavior
   
You become the family hero,  the spiritual "super person" to preserve the family image.You believe it is your responsibility to hold your family together because of your abuser's neglect in family matters.
   
You allow your partner to become the complainer that blames their misery on you and makes you the scapegoat for all their problems.

You become the adjuster that fixes all the problems the abuser causes

Most codependents do not realize they have a codependency problem. They focus more energy on another's actions and needs than on their own. They think they are actually helping the troubled person, but they are not.

Questions to Ask Yourself:
Do you do 3 or more of the following?
   
Think more about another person's behavior and problems than about how they affect your own life.
   
Feel anxious about the addicted or troubled person's behavior and constantly have a need to check on that person to try to catch him or her in a bad behavior so you can justify your pain and misery the other individual causes you to feel?
   
Worry that if you stop trying to control the other person, he or she will fall apart?
Blame yourself for this person's problems?
   
Cover up or "rescue" this person when he or she is caught in a lie or other embarrassing situation such as abuse of family members or yourself related to his or her addiction or mental issues?   

Deny that this person has a "real" problem with their behavior, and become angry and/or defensive when others suggest there is an addiction or other abuse problem?

Doubt your own decision-making ability?

Note: You may not be truly codependent yet, but you should become aware of how your behavior may be enabling an addicted or mentally troubled individual.



Source: M-Care, University of Michigan.

           

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